A compulsive gambler speaks to his family
I am a compulsive gambler. I need your help. Don't lecture me, blame me or scold me. You wouldn't be angry with me for having T.B, diabetes or cancer. Compulsive gambling is a disease too.

Don't take all of my money. It's just a waste of time because I can always find a way of getting more. Don't let me provoke your anger. If you attack me verbally or physically, you will only confirm my bad opinion of myself. I hate myself enough already.

Don't let your loneliness and anxiety for me lead you into doing what I ought to do for myself. If you assume my responsibilities, you make my failure to assume them permanent. Your sense of guilt will be increased and you will feel resentful. Don't accept my promises. I'll promise anything to get off the hook. The nature of my illness prevents me from keeping my promises, even though I mean them at the time. Don't make empty threats. Once you have made a decision stick to it.

Don't believe everything I tell you. It may be a lie. Denial of reality is a symptom of my illness. Moreover, I am likely to lose respect for those I can fool easily. Don't let me take advantage of you or exploit you in any way. Love cannot exist for long without the dimension of justice.

Don't cover up for me or try in any way to spare me the consequences of my gambling. Don't lie for me, pay my bills, work to pay my household obligations. It may avert or reduce the very crisis that would prompt me to seek help for myself.

I can continue to deny I have a gambling problem as long as you provide an automatic escape from the consequences of my gambling.

Above all, do learn all you can about my illness and your role in your relation to me. Go to open G.A. meetings when you can. Attend Gam-Anon meetings regularly. Read the literature; keep in touch with Gam-Anon members. They are the people who can help you see the whole situation clearly.

I love you!

Sincerely,

Your Compulsive Gambler

Back to home page